The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Membership Website in 2023
The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Membership Website in 2023
Are you looking to start a membership website but don't know where to begin? Look no further! In this guide, we'll explore the benefits of creating a membership site, the importance of choosing the right platform, and how Strikingly can help you achieve your goals.
What is a membership website?
A membership website requires payment of membership fees in order to access content or services. The fee is typically charged on a recurring basis, such as monthly or annually.
Some common examples of membership websites include:
- Online courses - Pay a membership to access video lessons and course materials. Examples are Lynda, Skillshare, Masterclass, etc.
- Streaming media - Pay a monthly subscription to access streaming audio, video, music, etc. Examples are Netflix, Spotify, Audible, etc.
- Community/Forums - Pay to join a private community, group, or forum to connect with other members and access resources. Examples are Patreon, Metafilter, etc.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) - Pay a monthly/annual fee to use specialized software or a technology platform. Examples are Dropbox, Slack, Mailchimp, SurveyMonkey, etc.
- Professional organizations - Pay an annual membership fee to be part of an industry association, society, or network. For example, membership sites for freelancers, photographers, interior designers, doctors, etc.
- Private lifestyle clubs - Pay a premium to access travel, dining, entertainment, and other lifestyle privileges, events and communities. Examples would be Inspirato, Quintess Club, etc.
What are the benefits of membership websites?
Membership websites offer a variety of benefits for both the site owner and members. Some key benefits of membership websites:
- Recurring revenue - Membership fees are charged on an ongoing basis providing predictable monthly or annual revenue.
- Higher customer lifetime value - Members tend to stay subscribed for a long time or renew repeatedly. This provides more opportunities to serve them.
- Closer relationships - Private communities foster closer connections between members and the brand/organization. This can lead to a loyal customer base.
- Valuable data - You have more data about your members to personalize, curate and optimize their experience over time.
- Exclusivity - Private websites accessible only to paying members cultivate a sense of exclusivity. This "velvet rope" experience is attractive to many customers.
Membership websites are a popular business model for online and offline companies and organizations. They can be very profitable if crafted well with unique, engaging experiences and community. The key is to provide real, ongoing value that members are willing to pay for month after month.
Why is it important to choose the right platform for my membership website?
Image taken from Strikingly
Choosing the right platform for your membership website is crucial for its success. You need a platform that is user-friendly, customizable, secure, and reliable. The wrong choice can lead to frustration for both you and your members.
- Features - Different platforms offer different features for managing members, content, and billing. Select a platform that has all the core features you need to run your membership site successfully. Things like membership management, subscription billing, content protection, discussion forums, video hosting, etc.
- Ease of use - The platform should be easy for both you and your members to navigate and use. An intuitive user interface and simple setup process is important, especially if you have less technical experience. If the platform is too complicated, it can be frustrating to work with.
- Cost - Pricing can vary significantly between platforms. Make sure to choose an option that fits your budget. Don't pay for many advanced features you don't need. But also consider value for the money - a higher-priced platform may offer substantial time/cost savings.
- Customization - Depending on your needs, the ability to fully customize the platform's look, design, and user experience may be more or less important. Some options allow for plenty of customization, while others have a fixed template.
- Integrations - If you want to integrate other tools and software into your membership site, check which types of integrations the platform supports. Options with open APIs and lots of integration partners will allow you to connect your site with email platforms, course creators, payment gateways, marketing automation tools, etc.
- Technical support - Building and managing a membership website often comes with technical challenges. Select a platform that offers help and support when you need it. This could be support documentation, video tutorials, community forums, or direct contact with the service/product provider.
- Reliability and security - Look for an established, well-tested, secure, and trusted platform. Your members will be paying for access, so you need a solution that will be highly reliable and keep their account and billing information secure.
- Growth potential - If you anticipate significant growth in members and activity over time, ensure the platform can scale with you. Some options are better suited to small niche sites, while others can accommodate tens of thousands of members or more.
Choosing the right membership platform upfront is critical to get your business up and running successfully and avoiding issues. Do thorough research on the top options and select the one that meets all your key needs, aligns with your technical abilities, and fits your budget.
Strikingly: An Overview
Strikingly is an all-in-one website builder that offers an easy-to-use platform for creating stunning websites with no coding knowledge required. It's perfect for creating membership websites, offering member registration and payment gateway integration features.
In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about starting a successful membership website using Strikingly. We've covered everything from planning your content strategy to retaining your members.
Let's get started on building your subscription website with Strikingly!
Planning Your Membership Website
Are you considering starting a membership website? Congratulations on taking the first step toward building a thriving online community! Before diving in, planning your membership website carefully is important. This section will cover the key steps to planning your membership website, including identifying your target audience, defining your membership offerings, creating a content plan, and setting realistic goals.
Identifying your target audience
The first step in planning your membership website is identifying your target audience. Who are the people that you want to attract to your site? What are their interests and needs? Understanding your target audience will help you create content and features that resonate with them.
To identify your target audience, start by thinking about the problem you are solving with your membership site. Who is most likely to benefit from this solution? Consider age, gender, location, profession, and interests when defining your ideal customer.
Defining your membership offerings
Once you have identified your target audience, it's time to define what you will offer them through a membership subscription. Will members have access to exclusive content such as articles or videos? Will they be able to participate in an online community forum or receive personalized coaching?
Defining what you will offer members is critical for attracting and retaining subscribers. Make sure that the benefits of being a member are clear and compelling.
Creating a content plan
Your content plan should outline what types of content you will create for members and how often it will be delivered. Will there be a weekly blog posts or monthly webinars? How will members access this content?
Creating a content plan ensures you have a steady stream of valuable material for members while helping you stay organized.
Setting realistic goals
It's important to set realistic goals for yourself when starting a subscription website. What do you hope to achieve with your membership site? How many members do you want to attract in the first year?
Setting goals helps you stay focused and motivated while also giving you a way to measure your progress. Remember to set goals that are challenging but achievable.
Image taken from Strikingly
Planning your membership website is critical for its success. By identifying your target audience, defining your membership offerings, creating a content plan, and setting realistic goals, you'll be well on your way to creating a thriving online community.
Building Your Membership Website
Building a membership website can be daunting, but it can be a breeze with the right platform and plan. Here are some tips on how to start a membership site using Strikingly.
1. Choosing a
Strikingly offers a variety of templates for subscription websites, making it easy to choose one that fits your brand and style. From minimalist designs to more elaborate ones, you will surely find one that suits your needs.
When choosing your template, consider your target audience and the type of content you'll be offering. A clean and simple design may work better for a professional audience, while a more vibrant and colorful one may appeal to younger audiences.
Don't forget to customize your template by adding your logo, changing colors or fonts, and rearranging sections to fit your content.
2. Customizing Your Website Design
Customization is key when building a membership website. With Strikingly's drag-and-drop editor, you can easily add or remove sections, change layouts, and customize every aspect of your site.
Make sure your website design is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Your members should be able to find what they're looking for without having to search too hard.
Also, don't forget about mobile optimization - ensure your site looks great on all devices!
3. Integrating Payment Gateways
One of the most critical aspects of building a membership website is integrating payment gateways so members can subscribe easily.
Strikingly offers seamless integration with payment providers like PayPal and Stripe. Make sure you set up recurring payments so that members are charged automatically each month or year, depending on their subscription plan.
4. Adding Membership Features
To keep members engaged and coming back for more, it's important to offer exclusive features such as member-only content or access to community forums.
Strikingly allows you to create member-only pages and add custom forms for members to fill out. You can also add a comments section or forum where members can interact with each other and share ideas.
Make sure you choose features that are relevant to your audience and align with your overall content plan.
With these tips, you're well on your way to building a successful membership website. Don't forget to keep track of your metrics and make data-driven decisions to improve user experience and retention.
Creating and Delivering Content
Creating and delivering content is the bread and butter of any membership website. It's what keeps your subscribers engaged and coming back for more. This section will explore how to choose the right content format, create evergreen content, schedule content delivery, and promote your content.
Choosing the Right Content Format
Choosing the right content format is crucial to keeping your subscribers engaged. You want to offer various formats catering to different learning styles. Some popular formats include video tutorials, webinars, podcasts, e-books, and blog posts.
Consider your target audience's preferences when deciding on the best format for your membership site. If you're targeting busy professionals who are always on the go, then short video tutorials or podcasts might be a better fit than lengthy e-books.
Creating Evergreen Content
Evergreen content is timeless and relevant regardless of when it was created. It's the type of content that will continue to provide value to your subscribers long after publication.
To create evergreen content for your membership website, focus on topics that are not time-sensitive or trendy. For example, if you're running a fitness membership site, instead of creating a post about Top 10 Fitness Trends in 2022, create an article about 5 Simple Exercises That Will Help You Stay Fit Forever.
Scheduling Content Delivery
Scheduling content delivery is essential to keeping your subscribers engaged and returning for more. You want to have a consistent schedule that delivers fresh new content regularly.
When scheduling your content delivery plan, consider how much time you need to create each piece of content and how often you want to publish new material. It's important not to overwhelm yourself with too much work or publish too infrequently that subscribers lose interest.
Promoting Your Content
Promoting your membership website's content is just as important as creating it. You want to get your content in front of many potential subscribers.
Social media is a great place to start promoting your content. Share your posts on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You can also consider running paid ads on social media or Google to reach a wider audience.
Creating and delivering content is the lifeblood of any membership website. Choosing the right content format, creating evergreen content, scheduling content delivery, and promoting your content effectively will keep your subscribers engaged and coming back for more.
Image taken from Strikingly
Growing Your Membership Base
As a membership website owner, your ultimate goal is to grow your subscriber base. This can be achieved through various means, including optimizing your website for search engines, running social media campaigns, offering free trial periods, and encouraging user-generated content.
Optimizing for Search Engines
One of the most effective ways to attract new members to your subscription website is by optimizing it for search engines. This involves researching and incorporating relevant keywords throughout your website's content.
To start, identify the primary keywords related to your membership subscription and strategically place them in your website's meta descriptions, page titles, headings, and body copy. Additionally, focus on creating high-quality content that provides value to your target audience.
By implementing these SEO strategies, you can improve your website's visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs), ultimately driving more traffic and increasing the likelihood of new member sign-ups.
Running Social Media Campaigns
Social media platforms are powerful tools for promoting membership websites and reaching new audiences. By creating engaging social media content highlighting the benefits of subscribing to your site, you can attract potential members and encourage them to sign up.
To maximize the impact of social media campaigns, focus on building a strong following by consistently posting high-quality content that resonates with your target audience. Additionally, consider partnering with influencers or running paid ad campaigns to expand your reach further.
Offering Free Trial Periods
Offering free trial periods is an effective way to entice potential members into signing up for a subscription website. You can build trust and demonstrate the value of subscribing by providing a taste of what they can expect from your site without requiring an upfront payment commitment.
When offering free trials, make sure to clearly communicate the terms and conditions upfront so that there are no surprises down the line. Additionally, consider using email marketing campaigns or retargeting ads to nurture trial users and encourage them to convert to paying members.
Encouraging User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool for growing a membership website's subscriber base. By encouraging members to share their experiences and opinions on your site, you can build a sense of community and attract new members through word-of-mouth referrals.
To encourage UGC, consider implementing features such as member forums, user reviews, or social sharing buttons. Additionally, consider incentivizing members to create content by offering rewards or recognition for their contributions.
By implementing these strategies for growing your membership website's subscriber base, you can attract new members and build a thriving community of loyal subscribers.
Retaining Your Members
Retaining your members is crucial to the success of your membership website. Keeping existing members is much easier and more cost-effective than constantly attracting new ones. Here are some tips on how to retain your members:
1. Provide exceptional customer service
One of the most important things you can do to retain your members is to provide exceptional customer service. Respond promptly and courteously to any inquiries or issues that arise, and make sure your members feel valued and appreciated.
2. Personalize the user experience
Personalizing the user experience can also help retain your members. Use their names in emails, recommend content based on their interests, and send personalized offers or discounts.
3. Offer exclusive perks and benefits
Offering exclusive perks and benefits is another great way to keep your members engaged. This could include access to premium content, discounts on products or services, or early access to new features.
4. Create a referral program
Creating a referral program can also help you retain your members while attracting new ones simultaneously. Offer incentives for current members who refer others to join, such as free months of membership or exclusive content.
Starting a membership website can be daunting, but with careful planning and execution, it can be a lucrative venture for any business or individual looking for recurring revenue streams through subscription websites or membership subscriptions.
Remember that retaining your existing customers is just as important as acquiring new ones - if not more so! By providing exceptional customer service, personalizing the user experience, offering exclusive perks and benefits, and creating a referral program for existing users, you'll be well on your way to building a thriving membership website.
So what are you waiting for? Start building your membership site today with Strikingly!
Analyzing Your Membership Website Performance
As a membership website owner, it's essential to track and analyze your website's performance regularly. Doing so will help you identify areas of improvement and make data-driven decisions to grow your membership base. Here are some key metrics to track:
Identifying key metrics to track
Firstly, you need to determine the metrics that matter most for your membership site. Some essential metrics include the number of active members, churn rate (the rate at which members cancel their subscription), revenue generated per member, and conversion rates.
By tracking these metrics, you can identify trends in your membership site's performance and make necessary changes to improve it.
Analyzing user behavior
Understanding how users interact with your website is crucial in optimizing their experience and increasing engagement. You can use tools like Google Analytics or Mixpanel to analyze user behavior on your website.
Some important user behavior metrics include pages visited per session, average session duration, bounce rate, and click-through rates. By analyzing these metrics, you can identify areas of improvement in your website design or content delivery strategy.
Image taken from Strikingly
Conducting A/B testing
A/B testing involves comparing two versions of a web page or content to see which performs better regarding user engagement or conversion rates. By conducting A/B tests on different elements of your membership site such as pricing plans or landing pages, you can optimize for better results.
For example, you could test different pricing plans to see which one generates more revenue per member or test different landing pages' copywriting style.
Making data-driven decisions
Finally, using the insights gained from tracking key metrics and analyzing user behavior should inform your decisions regarding improving your membership site's performance.
For example, if you notice a high churn rate among new members during their first month on the site, you may want to consider offering a free trial period or improving your onboarding process.
Tracking and analyzing your membership website's performance is crucial to its success. By identifying key metrics, analyzing user behavior, conducting A/B tests, and making data-driven decisions, you can optimize your site for better results and grow your membership base.
In this guide, we've explored the benefits of starting a membership website and how to do it successfully with Strikingly. We've covered everything from planning your offerings and creating content to growing and retaining your membership base.
Starting a membership website can be a great way to monetize your expertise or provide exclusive content to a dedicated audience. However, it's essential to choose the right platform and plan carefully for success.
With Strikingly, you have access to an easy-to-use platform that allows you to customize your website design, add membership features, and integrate payment gateways seamlessly.